The Fatal Syndromes of Ineffective Projects Performance Communication

No one can deny that having the insight to make better and faster project related decisions depends to a large extent on the knowledge that one has on the current project’s performance and health status and how could this impact the desired project objectives. This knowledge would largely depends on the extent of information that has been extracted and analyzed from the data captured from the different project team members regardless what role they play on delivering the project. This Data should be captured from the different formal and informal communications that take place during the project life cycle stages.

Project Centric Organizations

Project centric organizations that do not have a formal system to capture, analyze, share and visualize their projects performance data are usually faced with at least the following three fatal syndromes; Watermelon Dashboard Reporting, The Elephant with Seven Blind Men and The Chinese Whisper. The negative impact of those syndromes could drastically increase their risk of encountering the high cost of project failure. On average, organizations risk $109 million for every $1 billion spent on delivering projects due to failed projects (PMI’s Pulse of the Profession PMI_Pulse_2014.pdf (27 downloads )

Watermelon Slices

Watermelon Dashboard Reporting. Performance dashboards that are not linked to the data source have the high chance of being manipulated to reflect performance results that do not reflect the real project’s status. Data could be manipulated intentionally or unintentionally either to avoid reporting project issues, unavailability of actual data or mistakes in data entry. In a way, the reported Key Performance Indicators (KPI) could be all green while the actual project’s performance is all red. Another issue that faces organizations who continue to depend on Watermelon Dashboard Reporting is the delay in sharing the project’s performance status from the time it’s captured to when it becomes available to be visualized.

The Elephant with Seven Blind Men

The Elephant with Seven Blind Men. Project’s performance depends on capturing data that is generated by different team members thus increasing the risk of having data silos. For example, a project could end having different data silos for schedule, risk, cost, quality, contract administration among others. This gets more complicated when the project delivery involves multiple parties to execute and manage the project. Each one of those entities could be using their own systems to capture and report their relevant project information. This will make it impossible for a decision maker to have the understanding of the overall project performance as well as the impact of decisions on other aspects of a project.

The Chinese Whisper

The Chinese Whisper. Decision makers who depend on intermediaries to communicate project’s performance data face the high risk of data quality deterioration and manipulation in addition to the speed of having this information. This syndrome gets even worse in the Middle East region where the projects delivery involve team members from different nationalities and cultuers where project information could be affected by the subjective views and feelings of those involved in communicating project’s performance status and health as well as when translating the performance status from one language to another.

Therefore, for those decision makers who are keen on having the insight to make better and faster decisions on their projects need to change and adopt today’s best practices in managing their projects data. Those decision makers should be the one to decide what questions they need to get answers for in a timely, objective and true format.


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